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The True Cause Of The American Civil War: State Rights Or Slavery? (Essay Sample)


The True Cause of the Civil War: State Rights or Slavery?

History: The Civil War, State Rights, and Slavery The True Cause of the Civil War: State Rights or Slavery? Name of Author Institutional Affiliation Date of Submission The True Cause of the Civil War: State Rights or Slavery? The American Civil War (1861-1865) was a bloody military conflict between the Southern and the Northern States that completely altered the country’s political, social, and economic landscapes. Following Abraham Lincoln’s triumph in the 1860 presidential election, seven lower southern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, and Mississippi seceded from the union. Among the primary reasons for the secession and the Civil War, include the states versus Federal rights, the fight between the slave and non-slave advocates, the social and economic conflicts between the South and the North, abolition growth and the election of Abraham Lincoln. Despite the Civil War’s numerous causal factors, historians recognize slavery and states’ rights as the most dominant. However, reviewing the events preceding the war, the growing cultural and economic differences between the two regions, and the deep mistrust, and the differing philosophies on the powers of the federal and state governments, it is clear that the actual cause of the Civil War was State rights rather than slavery. The question of whether the national government had substantial powers or was merely a voluntary federation of sovereign states had long been divisive since the birth of the American Republic. The conflicting interpretation of the constitution drove the south to secede, not to save slavery, but to prevent the subversion of the rights of individual states. On November 15, 1777, the new federation adopted the first federal constitution under the articles of Confederation. The new constitution created a system in which the states had control over their affairs and kept the majority of powers. However, by 1787, leaders had realized that a weak federal government was not working. Hence, they revised the articles of Confederation and created the United States Constitution that created a strong federal government with powers and control over the states. Though the states adopted this new constitution, the Southern region still believed in giving more powers to the states. The discontent never ended, and South Carolina threatened to secede in the early 1830s. This eventually led to the secession in 1860-1861 and the formation of the Confederate States.[. Dilbeck, Daniel H. A Civil War: How the Union Waged a Just War (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016), 34.] The move by the South to secede, in essence, aroused the nationalist sentiments of many northern states who viewed secession as the defiance of legitimate political authority and national destiny. According to Masur, even though the majority of the Northerners were anti-slavery, it was not a viable justification to go to war. The southerners, on the other hand, firmly believed in the principles of state rights and objected to a powerful federal government and the Republicans' attempt to dictate them. The Southern States also viewed the strong federal government as repressive...
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